Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Aug 29, 2010

A Thought on German HIV Singer Nadja Benaissa

Filed under: Crime — admin @ 12:01 am

On 26 August 2010, I learned of this piece of news about 28-year-old Nadja Benaissa, that is, she has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence. This is like a slap on her hand when she could have been given up to 10 years in prison. But, she has already been severely punished by this publicity, with or without court-imposed sentence.

Her crime: she knew of her HIV status, but she chose to keep it a secret and have unprotected sex with at least three men, not at the same time though. Benaissa was found guilty on one count of causing grievous bodily harm and two of attempted bodily harm, even though she denied deliberately infecting anyone.

After I learned of her troubled youth years – drug addict at the age of 14, pregnant at 16, and HIV-positive at 17 – I no longer feel as bitter toward her as before. What I see is a girl emerging from a turbulent teenage years, from a life of youth and follies, young and stupid, and trying to put behind her that shameful chapter in her life. Just as I see in many people that I know of who once had some eventful and rather wasteful teenager years.

Our past follies and youthful imprudences are like an invisible debt to us. At some point in our lives, we all have to pay for this. For Benaissa, the debt of those wanton youth years — her HIV — will follow her throughout her whole life. Sometimes, we can deceive ourselves into believing that we can put behind our past and turn a brand new page, as if what happened in the past had never happened. But as Benaissa’s recent abrasion with law shows, our past is like our shadow. It will follow us till our last day.

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